Lambert to Thomas Jefferson, with Enclosure, 29 December 1787

From Lambert, with Enclosure

I have the honour, Sir, to send you a copy of an Arret passed in Council, for encouraging the Commerce of the United States of America in France. I shall furnish you with a number of others as soon as they shall be printed.

You will therein see that several considerable favors, not before promised to the American Commerce, have been added to those which the king announced to you, in the letter addressed to you on the 22d. of october of the last year.

If in the mean time any duties have been levied, contrary to the intentions of that letter, they shall be repaid on sight of the vouchers.

I have also ordered a verification of the facts whereon it was represented to you, that the decision of the 24 of may 1786, relative to the Commerce of tobacco, had not been fully executed. Be assured that if it shall appear that engagements have been evaded, which were taken under the sanction of the king, effectual provision shall be made for their scrupulous fulfillment.

You will learn also with pleasure that the measures I have taken to prevent the interruption of the Commerce of tobacco, have had full success.

This commodity shall not be excepted from among those to which the right of entrepot is given. The farmers general shall have no preference in the purchases, the proprietors shall be perfectly masters of their speculations, and free to export their tobaccoes by sea to foreign countries.

Measures only must be taken to prevent those frauds to which the entrepot might serve as a pretext; and the chambers of commerce for the ports shall be consulted, in order that the precautions necessary for this purpose, may not be in a form incompatible with that liberty which Commerce ought to enjoy in its operations.

Although the present stock of the farmers general amounts to about three years consumption I have engaged that company to continue to purchase yearly from the 1st day of january 1788. to the end of their lease fourteen thousand hogsheads of tobacco brought directly into the ports of France in French or American bottoms, and to shew at the end of every four months that their purchases amount to four thousand six hundred and sixty six hogsheads.

As to the prices, you have been sensible yourself of the necessity of leaving them free; and this freedom of price was the principal object of the applications of the American and French merchants when they complained of the contract of M. Morris.

The determination then taken to force the purchases of tobacco, tho at high prices, insomuch that the farmers general now find themselves possessed of three years provision, shews that the interests of the planters and merchants of the United States of America have ever been precious to the King.

The arret of Council herein inclosed, and the other regulations which I have the honour of communicating to you, are a further confirmation of a truth tending somuch to strengthen the bands which unite the two nations.

I have the honour to be with a very sincere and inviolable attachment, Sir, your most humble and most obedient servant.

Signed Lambert.

English text of the printed version, being a leaflet of four numbered pages with the French and English texts in parallel columns (the latter in italics), having at the head of the text of the English translation the following: “LETTER from M. LAMBERT, Councellor of State & of the Council royal of Finance and Commerce, Comptroller general of finance to M. Jefferson, Minister plenipotentiary for the United States of America at the Court of Versailles”; and at the foot of text: “A Paris De L'imprimerie Royale. 1787”; measuring 16.5 by 14.6 cm. (DNA: PCC, No. 87, ii; another copy RPA, Letters to the Governor, xx, 94 ; another copy DNA:RG46, Recs. of U.S. Senate ). RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 35: 6076–7); in French, in a clerk's hand, signed by Lambert.

Enclosure: Text here printed is from the printed copy in its final, corrected form, filed with RC of Lambert's letter ( another copy in same; DLC: TJ Papers, 35: 6078–81); a pamphlet of eight numbered pages in the usual form in which arrêts were printed; with French and English texts in parallel columns (the latter in italics); measuring 17.5 by 12.5 cm., and bearing the following imprint: “A Paris De L'imprimerie Royale. 1787.” In DNA: PCC, No. 87, ii there is a proof of the arrêt with a number of corrections of typographical errors in both the French and English texts, and having at its head the following in a clerk's hand: “2e. Epreuve non encore Collationne ni confrontée avec l'original” (see Short to Jay, 1 Jan. 1788, in which this copy was enclosed).

  1. This footnote explanation is not in the French text.